The hot summer months can be taxing on food safety managers and their employees, but we often ignore the fact that excess heat impacts your equipment as well. As we all know, equipment failure causes a loss of revenue and poses a risk to the safety of the food you serve. This week we’ll take a look at a few things you can do to keep your food protection equipment operational and does not succumb to extreme temperatures.
Food Protection Equipment Inspection and Maintenance for the Summer Heat
We’ve identified three valuable pieces of equipment that get taxed in the summertime:
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Air ventilation and swamp coolers
- Air curtains
Your refrigeration is vital to your operation. During the summer, refrigeration systems work harder than any other time of the year, and, if any unit fails, it means lost product and food being stored at dangerous temperature levels. Make sure you regularly inspect and clean compressors and fans. Dust and other contaminants can drastically harm efficiency and overworked compressors can burn out. Also, be aware of excess condensation, dripping water or ice forming on your compressor. These are all signs of excess humidity and overheating. Finally, monitor temperatures regularly, if you notice a spike or irregularities in temperature control, contact an expert to assess whether or not your units are in need of repair. Food safety manager training tells us that food stored in the danger zone can be loaded with harmful bacteria. If you do have any refrigeration failure, it’s best to be safe and toss product stored in the danger zone for an indeterminate amount of time.
Air ventilation systems keep your staff cool and pump hot air out of your kitchen. Clean hood vents frequently to allow them to work properly. Clogged hood vents can cause your system to work longer with poor results, setting you up for potential fan failure. If your facility uses a swamp cooler system, frequently inspect filters, water supply and fan to ensure that it’s operating properly.
When it’s hot outside, doors are frequently left open for extended periods of time, forcing your air curtain to log more hours of operation. You can reduce wear and tear by designating which door must remain closed and which are allowed to be propped open. Many also have replaceable air filters which can clog with dust and grime. Cleaning or replacing filters will increase performance and extend the life of the unit.
Do you have any tips for keeping your food protection equipment functioning its best in the heat?